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Facilitating corruption: good business but bad for nation

Mon, Jun 15, 2009

Nation Building

Parsuram shares with me, “Sir, i have to work but there is now nepal banda. I had to walk 10 kilometers today to collect a payment. I am just wondering for how long i should stay in Nepal.  My wife is a staff nurse and she got a job offer in Denmark.  We could go but we did not because our baby was too small.”

Parsuram is one of the many facilititators for government related works like getting your passport stamped and approved to go to Dubai, malaysia or korea. 

According to him, the assistants (subba) in the labor department earn sometimes 10 lakhs in 3 months.  One subbs earned 10 million or one crore recently and he quickly invested in a house.  A past deputy general (DG) has earned 1 or two arab or 10 billion rupees enough for 7 generations. 

How to they earn this incredible amount of money?  Simple by creating obstacles in the process of approval. So hundreds of thousands of people pay extra than the the amount the government asks.  This extra money is then divided between the various signature holders in the chain. 

Parshuram pockets in whatever is left after the the pie is shared.  He says that before it was upto Rs.200 but now due to competion it is only Rs.50 per person. 

He knows this is bad and risky.  So he like his partner have quickly invested in land and made sure the money can’t be reclaimed. 

So who loses?  The public doesn’t feel the pinch.  It is just a few more thousands.  The other players only gain.  The biggest loss is not even the loss in revenue because it is being collected.  Instead it is in the moral wealth of Nepal. 

As i said in an earlier write up, this is at the root of political conflict in Nepal. 

Otherwise why would the parties be fighting over who gets which ministry after the ascension to power.  Do the arithmetics. 

PArshuram has also another story. 

He was not like this.  He did not get into this dirty game of public work facilitation through corruption by his intention. 

At first he wanted to be a good banker.  He finished in MBS and studied day in day out for the opening in Rastra bank.  But his name did not come out.  Then he applied in Nepal Bank which called for 100 vacancies.  This time he passed the written exams.  But in the interview, the managers asked, “Do you have any body in power?”

He replied, “I come from the village area and i am newar, how can i have anyone in power?”

His name did not come come out. 

He blames it on the tenure of Ram Sharan Yadav, a minister then.  Only his protege got the hundreds of jobs. 

So Parshuram went on applying to all the private banks but no one called.  He took a training from in banking at Rs.6000 which was very high, but it did not work.  He did not land a job in the bank because as i said he knew nobody there. 

So he decided to go to Dubai and also enrolled some friends to join him through a middle man.  But this person ran away with their money.  Now Parshuram had to pay back his friends.  So he came to kathmandu to hunt for this middle man.  On the process he ran out of money and a vacancy for manager in a manpower company came.  He applied and got the job.

There he learnt the tricks of the trade of the business of facilitating gvt work he is doing now.  Having to represent his manpower agency as manager, he built the network of corrupt government officers and learnt how to take them in his favor. 

Soon the manpower company he was working for would cheat him and not pay him.  so he quit and started a specialized service. 

He was now a facilitator.  He was no more a middle man.  It is less risky. 

Basically he does the back office work of people who already got an invitation to come to overseas job be it through manpower agencies or self. 

He says this business has no status in society and is thinking of doing a job.  But now his habit is spoilt.  He has played with so much money.  He takes in lakhs and throws out lakhs.  For example he takes the subba’s on outings in bars and pays bills worth 10,000 Rs. 

Isn’t it amazing, what this country is getting into?  Is it a wonder that we have so many political problems?

Apparently the maoists tried to stop this need to facilitate.  Others would be happy but people like parshuram would be out of business. 

Thank god the maoists were out of gvt. 

Just imagine, the state of Nepal! 

Until we uproot these grapevines where greed is cultivated, salvation will never be possible.  Political parties will always want to have a bigger share of this grapevine.  For that they will use any means: even dividing the nation. 

No one knows but they are using the divide and rule policy so that they can fool the people while in the process they can walk away with the loot of government corruption. 

People like parshuram will find other business to do once this public system is cleaned out.  The Subbas and DG will have to be more creative to make more money outside work. 

I believe may be Network marketing could be an alternative to corruption money.  But this idea is its infancy.  I’ll write more about it later.

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